Thursday, January 19, 2012

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: Poland vs Ukraine

Day Two: Changed through patient waiting for the Lord
Let it be so now, for it is proper to fulfil all righteousness (Mt 3:15)

We continue our prayer for the dedication of Christians to peace so that we may bear a more convincing witness to the name of Christ before all men and women of good will by reflecting on part of the introduction to the materials which an ecumenical group in Poland prepared for this year’s Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity.

In 2012 the European Football Championship will be held in Poland and Ukraine. This would never have been possible in years gone by. For many this is a sign of another “national victory” as hundreds of millions of fans eagerly await news of winning teams playing in this part of Europe. Thinking of this example might lead us to consider the plight of those who do not win - not only in sport but in their lives and communities: who will spare a thought for the losers, those who constantly suffer defeats because they are denied victory due to various conditions and circumstances? Rivalry is a permanent feature not only in sport but also in political, business, cultural and, even, church life.

When Jesus’ disciples disputed over “who was the greatest” (Mk 9,34) it was clear that this impulse was strong. But Jesus’ reaction was very simple: “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all” (Mk 9,35). These words speak of victory through mutual service, helping, boosting the self-esteem of those who are “last”, forgotten, excluded. For all Christians, the best expression of such humble service is Jesus Christ, His victory through death and His resurrection. It is in His life, action, teaching, suffering, death and resurrection that we desire to seek inspiration for a modern victorious life of faith which expresses itself in social commitment in a spirit of humility, service and faithfulness to the Gospel. And as he awaited the suffering and death that was to come, he prayed that his disciples might be one so that world might believe. This “victory” is only possible through spiritual transformation, conversion. That is why we consider that the theme for our meditations should be those words of the Apostle to the Nations. The point is to achieve a victory which integrates all Christians around the service of God and one’s neighbor.

1 comment:

noreen said...

No one likes to be last though... that seems to be the problem. Our culture values hard work and rising to the top. It would take a conscious effort on all involved to remember those wise words of Jesus.